The House that Jim Built

My cat has been acting very strangely.    He is suspicious of moving furniture and belongings in boxes.   He’s taken to shadowing me when I go from room to room.    This cat is eleven years old.  He’s been through one move with us before when we remodeled this house.

I remember when Jim, our good friend who owns a contracting company, first came to look at our house.    It was then an 850 square foot A Frame.    It had a sparkly gold sink and gilded golden frame in the bathroom.   The shower was tucked into the corner of the A-Frame.  This sounds harmless but it meant that if you took a shower you had to lean sideways the entire time.    I showed Jim this shower and told him I really wanted a claw foot tub and could he somehow make that happen.   Jim had the good grace not to laugh at me. He took our rudimentary “plans” and crafted them into a house plan that the county approved and the remodel commenced.

One day early in the project, Jim was at our house talking about the next few steps.  He ripped out a pen and started writing a list and diagram on one of our walls.   He must have noticed our surprised face because he laughed and said “That wall’s not going to be there anymore, you know that right?”

We moved out of the house when Jim ripped a hole in the side of it (purposefully) and we spent the next two months camping out at my parents.  My old bedroom housed me, my husband, our dog, cat and chinchilla.   It was cozy.   The cat did fine.

My father graciously agreed to wire the house for us.  Actually, I think what he said was, “I’ll wire your house if one of the rooms is a nursery”  Subtle.    My husband and I helped pull wire, and we both learned how to wire electric switches.   I wrote Bible verses on the beams and studs while we wired.

We moved back in right before Christmas.   What a great Christmas.   Jim came in on time and on budget.   Jim is a craftsman.   My father in law paid him the best compliment I’ve heard when he stated that Jim somehow added 800 square feet to an A Frame and made it look like it was original.    One of the things I love best about this house is something Jim did as an afterthought.   When our concrete steps were poured, he pressed three leaves into the corner of one step, one for each of our family.

Right now, I’m sitting on the couch of this beautiful house listening to the Washougal River.  Sitting on the deck, drinking coffee, are the new buyers.   They told me that if I’m ever back in the neighborhood to feel free and come sit on the deck and they’ll make me a cup of coffee.  I appreciated the offer.   I love this house.

My husband and my daughter are, by nature, both forward thinking people.  They both love to plan adventures and get excited about things to come.   I’m more like the cat.  A little wary about change.

We move in six days.   The most important parts of this home are coming with us.   My great grandmother’s piano, a few quilts, my husband’s computer full of all of our family photos.   I’m thrilled to be moving.  The sale was a miracle.   Our new house is close to everyone and has room for tons of family and friends. It’s gorgeous and has amazing potential.  It has a garage and a flat driveway!  It has a backyard for my kiddo to run.    You know what it’s missing?   Some leaves pressed into the front concrete.  It needs some bible verses written on studs.   It needs some personal touches and some history.  I love history.   There are a few things that the house needs practically speaking as well.   We’re going to call Jim.   Maybe he can press some new leaves in concrete for me.   Maybe then the cat will quit following me constantly and can curl up and purr.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The House that Jim Built

  1. Andrea

    I enjoy reading your blog so much because you are an amazing story teller! So excited to hear about the adventures to come as you move into your new house.

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